Creating reflective portfolio websites helps students document and process their learning and growth as students of Spanish.
Academic technology tool
Google Sites to create reflective portfolio websites.
Professor Schroeder Rodríguez presented about this project at the November 2019 ATS Event “Critical Analysis in Collaborative Settings with Google Apps”
Students in the Fall 2019 Senior Seminar in Spanish created summative portfolio websites reflecting on their journey as students of Spanish at Amherst. The Department of Spanish was looking for a platform to help Spanish Majors build community, document their work, and process study abroad experiences.
The class collectively chose Google Sites as a platform because several students had previous experience and knew it to be very user-friendly. They also worked together to decide on a standard site template, choosing a chronological framework with work organized by year.
Students then selected and curated examples of work from each semester and year of study. They also wrote a final, unifying reflective essay about their journey through the curriculum as well as any study abroad or community-engaged experiences.
These reflection assignments gave students new insights into their learning process and experiences, allowing them to track how their thinking and knowledge changed over time. It also provided valuable information for the department, which can use this to refine future iterations of their course design and curriculum planning work.
Toward the end of the semester Professor Schroeder Rodríguez conducted an interview with each student, which was filmed by Multimedia Services. The videos, which are added to the portfolio sites, became an additional reflective exercise as well as a record of the students’ spoken language skills.
Professor Shroeder Rodríguez has thereby promoted student metacognition1 by getting students to monitor their own thinking through the reflective essay, and recognize conceptual change through the video-based retrospective post-assessment.
The portfolio sites of this year’s students may also be used as teaching and advising resources for future students. With this in mind, the students took simple steps to ensure that the sites would be accessible to all users, including students with disabilities. The Google Sites platform has many built-in accessibility features, and the students added alt-text for images as needed.
This class was supported with a mid-semester review and other assistance by the Center for Teaching and Learning. This mid-semester feedback allowed Professor Rodríguez to realign his plan for the second half of the semester to balance his teaching goals with the students’ expectations and interests.
Please contact askIT@amherst.edu if you are interested in using Google Sites for a class project.
1Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 11(2), 113-120.